Saturday, February 27, 2010

Burnt out in France - Back in the good old USA

Yes, we have them, our passports! In a record breaking one hour, 54 minutes we were in and out of the American embassy, passports in hand.

Considered a hardship case, we had no problem getting them. But it seems they keep changing the rules. Just last year emergency passports were valid for a year. No more. Just three months but that is long enough for our week long trip.

This trip had been planned since December. My daughter Samantha and I went for 10 days in august but because Alexandra was studying for the Science Po examination she didn’t come. This time Samantha is in school while her sister has a week-long vacation. The timing is perfect and will use the opportunity to replace our clothes.

We usually visit my parents once or twice a year. With my mom 90 this year and my father 94, it is important we go. But this is the first time in 39 years that I am arriving with a bag of dirty clothes. The last time was when I was Alexandra’s age, 19. Oh, well, 39 years later I am back to the same, bringing dirty clothes home. There is a lot less this time. Three pairs of undies and four pairs of socks. And they aren’t even mine! However, I am the one that dirtied them.

I was explaining to Alexandra that I am such a Cro-Magnon I remember traveling before needing all those security measures. I remember arriving at the last moment running up the stairs of the plane.

At that time people wanted to travel not to kill.

Have you noticed that you pay more to go to the states now and yet there are no longer non-stop flights? I don’t know when it happened, I only noticed when I went in August.

 So today we went Paris-Zurich, Zurich-Los Angeles. I passed thru like a breeze in Paris, not even my newly installed hip didn’t sing out. In Zurich it wasn’t the same song. First my hip passing thru….sung out. And, the Swiss don’t want to hear about a changed hip, they want security so I ducked into the “frisking room” for a major “frisk”. I wasn’t so frisky when I left, but my hip was pronounced secure.

Arriving in Santa Barbara after traveling 30 hours, We discover there is a "warning" about possible strong waves due to the earthquake in Chili!  But I am a California girl and undaunted.  We have already gone to Target and I now have clean socks and underwear!

Kristi Anderson is the orignal owner of Tea & Tattered Pages and until February 6, 2010 ran a bed and breakfast near Orléans.
kristi anderson
le saint jacques le coin perdu
15, place de l'église
45240 Ligny le Ribault

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Burnt out and Deflated in France

To say that today I am slightly depressed.....yes, you can say that, maybe more than "slightly" depressed. Sophie doesn't like to say "depressed" she thinks it is better said that "I am deflated". Either word, I think it is because I have just arrived in Purgatory.

Sitting in my “office” in Cybercafé just opposite where my home was I was amazed to see that my only door left intact, that of the bar le coin perdu, wide open.

I immediately thought that, being prematurely senile, I had completely forgotten to shut it when searching for photos yesterday. On entering I found several men upstairs! Nobody had told me that workers were coming to take down the unsafe chimneys.
 At that moment it hit me like a flame out of my office window; something was wrong here, something was not right. It was no longer my home! It was, is, the object of an inquest. My home is no longer a home. There is just a burnt out carcass left. Its guts, its heart its everything is gone. And, right now so is my spirit. (and, this time we are not talking about the bottled kind)

I am about ready to peter les plombs (go “ballistics”)

The Insurance is demanding detailed lists of absolutely everything in the house and they want that yesterday.
I need a furnished appartment for Samantha and I.

Alexandra and I planned a trip February 2th to March 6th to see my parents in Santa Barbara. You got it, want to see the picture again, where the passports were?

First try, Tuesday after the fire. Train station, no train. No, it wasn’t a strike, an “obstruction” on the rails. Second try, 2nd Tuesday after. Arrive at the ambassy to find that an “important” meeting was taking place, thus no consulate services. Did have a nice Paris lunch with my kids.

Third try will be tomorrow February 24th. With a little luck we will be considered a hardship case and will have our passports the same day.

But wait…..what do I see…. Yes, the French have done something NEW AND DIFFERENT! They have announced a strike! And, not just any strike, we are talking about an AIRPORT STRIKE! Starting today and lasting at least three days. We will see. In any case, getting stuck and sleeping at the airport can’t be worse than where I am sleeping now.

Kristi Anderson is the orignal owner of Tea & Tattered Pages and until February 6th ran a bed and breakfast near Orléans in Sologne, Loire Valley.
kristi anderson
le saint jacques le coin perdu
15, place de l'église
45240 Ligny le Ribault

Burnt out in france - Survivors and Refuges

Saturday morning the 6th of February there were six dogs, one cat, one ferret, one rabbit, two water turtles and a dozen goldfish.

Saturday evening there were five dogs, one cat, one rabbit AND one water turtle. This is their story....

Pookie is a cat and, being a cat was quite able to get herself out of the house. Her whereabouts were unknown until midnight. When the firemen had left (two stayed the night) and things were calming down Pookie came back. She wanted to go back into the house and was not happy to be in with the rest of us and let us know by yowling. She finally found some comfort in a new home.

The dogs, being dogs were just happy to have a bed. Pearl and Aya had left with Laurent so it was just Sushi and the two guests, Petrus and Aimé. Pookie decided to join them.

And, yes in the corner,what? A bottle of wine. A very nice Cheverny Domaind de Huards which I served at dinner for my guests. I had to test a few to confirm that they, indeed, were survivors also. AND, YES!! The wine has survived!

Bunny, now Bunny’s survival is a mystery, at least to me. We are having CSI Ligny le Ribault Monday and I will ask him the question. In the meantime look at this.


Bunny lived in the small greenhouse just above the dark door in the photo. Which is just next to where the fire started. The firemen didn’t bring her out until late in the night and her fur wasn’t even singed!

This is, or should I say, was my office, where the fire started. To the right is Bunny’s “house”, look at the blue pot; there is not even any smoke damage! The fire completely melted the radiator that was under that window!

Here is Bunny in happier times in the pot that survived.

Now I have saved the best for last. For those who read my “Feeding time at a tiny zoo…” will recognize Franklin and Caroline.

Their pots were in the dining room situated just next to the library (my office)
 Here is Christine and Elton in front in better days.

Caroline survived! Around 11pm when the firemen were finally able to enter the house one of them found Caroline outside her pot walking around!  Here she is in her new home in the café across the street.

 How? I will confirm with the expert who arrives tomorrow, but here’s how I look at it.

The pot was made out of PVC, the fire melted the border until it reached the water level. It was probably about this time that the firemen started dousing the house and, above all, the library and dining area. Both Caroline and Franklin made their escape.

Unfortunately we only found Caroline. But that is already very fortunate for us!

Stinky wasn’t so lucky. She was in her cage next to my room…..we miss her.

Here she is with her buddy Pookie.

The fish…. They did not want to jump from the pot into the fire. Something I can understand.

Sunday morning Sophie wanted to take advantage of Mother Nature’s cooking techiniques. As I didn’t dare Sophie confirmed that they were perfectly cooked!

 But then again, Sophie has eaten every mushroom I have collected, raw or cooked. She has complete faith!

Kristi Anderson is the orignal owner of Tea & Tattered Pages and until Februry 6th ran a bed and breakfast near Orléans.
kristi anderson
le saint jacques le coin perdu
15, place de l'église
45240 Ligny le Ribault

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Burnt Out in France - Cybercafés and Armagnac

It's snowing...again.

 It is day 15 since my life went up in flames (I now understand the this cliché!)

 And it has been freezing (-12°C), snowing and raining since.

Today I wanted to go buy some socks and underwear but the roads are so slippery best to stay in the Cybercafé and write.  Yes, this is it! Otherwise known as Kristi's Office.  But their WIFI is limited at best and so I am often offline. 

To make matters worse, I cannot live without a computer so I bought a small notebook computer; which did not come with Word and I couldn't even download the free trial!

I am up and running for the moment, Word installed and WIFI working.

                                                                                                                                                                                                   For the moment I am living in one of the guest rooms
 in the courtyard that were not touched by the fire.  

My "frigo"  please notice that those are bottles of water not bottles of wine!
  And, speaking of... the three rooms in the house that were not totally destroyed?  Come on and guess!  I will give you a hint........and another hint....

Easy Non?  The kitchen, bar and wine cellar were the least damaged!  

We were even able to save what was in the freezer and frigo! And from the bar here are some of the survivorsAt least we can Eat Drink and Be Merry!

Kristi Anderson is the orignal owner of Tea & Tattered Pages
 and until Feburary 6th ran a bed and breakfast near Orléans.
kristi anderson
le saint jacques le coin perdu
15, place de l'église
45240 Ligny le Ribault

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Burnt Out in France - Village People

The Village People

And, I am not talking about from the YMCA but from Ligny le Ribault.

I was across the street, in the café, watching the flames eat up my life and spit it out in ashes. I was in my stocking feet. But at least I had time to grab a pair jeans. This was just plain luck. The fact that I was even dressed at all was chance. If it hadn’t been so cold….well, just to say I don’t own a pair of pjs. But Saturday was cold, cold enough that I kept on my socks when I went to take a nap.

Within an half hour I had a pair of boots and a coat. My new belongings given with such heart from people I don’t even know! It was like that all afternoon into the night, food, clothing and so many offers of help. One man from the village, who I didn’t know at all even offered his second house for as long I wished! And the number of beds to lay down my head….too many to count. And the best, I now six tubes of toothpaste with brushes to go with, four deodorants, four shampoos and two shower soaps. NOW, who says that the French don’t bath!

With the Coin Perdu lost in the fire I thought I would have to cancel the Saint Valentine's dinner that was organised for Saturday Feburary 13, but, no. Jean-Luc and Sylvie have graciously "loaned" me

their restaurant Auberge Sainte Anne and have even offered pro bona their services.

Here are the Christines decorating the Sainte Anne.

                                                                            The result

The dinner was a success but I have to admit it was hard for me. Not to be in my own kitchen I was looking all over for everything.

Just a few of the Angels and Devils who stopped by.

And, of course, every French village has a few of these....

The Christines with whom I was doing the dinner have also organized a thé dansant (an afternoon tea dance) without my knowledge and the benefits are for me. With all this generosity has come the discovery just how much I have been accepted by this village. In spite of my horrible no-good accent and strange ways they somehow still love me!!

But I can't accept the tea dance money. Yes, my life will never be as it was before; I will never have what I had before. But what I will have will still be so much more than so many others. I will be giving many thanks to those who will be dancing Sunday afternoon and I will giving the money to the woman who helped clean my house something I will no longer need and to a couple that I know are struggling to pay their rent.

But did I have a good time at that Tea Dance!! It was karoke and the music I love. I took great advantage of the fact that absolutely no one was going to tell me to stop singing because of my horrible, terrible, no good voice; they wouldn’t have the heart to say that to someone whose house just burned down. SOooooooooooooooooo I sang my heart out much to the chagrin of the listeners.

After the kids left...

At the end there a few of us still hanging on.
 ....For me every sense of the phrase!

Kristi Anderson is the orignal owner of Tea & Tattered Pages and until February 6, 2010 ran a bed and breakfast near Orléans.

kristi anderson
le saint jacques le coin perdu
15, place de l'église
45240 Ligny le Ribault

Kristi Anderson is the orignal owner of Tea & Tattered Pages and now runs a bed and breakfast near Orléans.
kristi anderson
le saint jacques le coin perdu
15, place de l'église
45240 Ligny le Ribault

Monday, February 15, 2010

Last night Raggy Saved my Life

Raggy saved my life.

I need to do this; to talk about Raggy. Raggy, full name Ragamuffin, was the epitomy of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. She was them all.

I bought her on the Quai in Paris (so she was way overpriced!) ten years ago for my daughter Samantha. I bought her because she was so ugly I didn't think anyone else would. A cross between a terrier and a toy poodle she was prognatic thus bad breath, so hairy most of the time that she strongly resembled a dirty mop and bad, oh she was bad! Barked all the time, must have been the poodle part in her. Her nickname was the sonnette (door bell) because she announced everyone and everything.

But she was good. Although I bought her for Samantha, due to a terrible no-good divorce she wasn't allowed to take Raggy with her when she was with her dad. It was invietable that she would become attached to me. And she did. That dog ADORED me like the men inn my life never did ! And, in return, I loved her.

Saturday I had 6 dogs with me. Laurent left Pearl and Aya to do some work at a friend’s house. I was taking care of Petrus and Aimer for a family taking a week’s vacation in Santa Domingo.

When I went upstairs with the dogs I thought Raggy was with us, but no she was shut in the kitchen. She has a bed there and often stayed there rather than climb the stairs. (She was 10 years old and stair climbing was no longer fun) I shut the door as usual so that the larger ones would not do « betisse » (mischief) like stealing the bread off the table.

Raggy was the one that signaled the fire by, guess what, barking. Because the living room doors were shut (another reason why I am still here typing) the smoke arrived slowly giving Raggy time to smell it. Had she been upstairs with us the smoke would have arrived in my room probably at the same time that she smelled it. And, probably too late to have successfully exited the house. From my room to an exiting door was approximately 80 meters of turning hallways.

When I was awoken by her barking I thought she was with us. To say I was a little confused would be correct. I saw a wafting of smoke outside my window. I opened the window and looked below to see that there was smoke creeping around the walls. It looked as though it was seeping thru the walls. I couldn’t figure out what was going on but I knew I had to call the firemen. Reached for my cell phone and god forbid that I could remember their number!!! Thought it better to call from the café across the street. With the dogs behind me, still thinking Raggy was among them went down the hallway. When I reached the staircase the smoke was thick and starting to climb the staircase, Raggy was still barking but I thought with us!!

I opened the living room door and a blast of smoke hit me in the face, and, I thought at this moment that maybe this was a bit more serious than I thought. I turned and quickly left the house leaving the door open. I ran out to the street yelling for someone to call the firemen and saw that everyone from the café were already there and had already called them.

What happened when I first opened the door to the living room and then the back door that gave the needed oxygen to the fire. In the street I heard the first set of windows explode and looked to see the flames hurtling up the outside wall straight into the window of my room which was the next to explode. My room is located above the office and was destroyed within 15 minutes from the start of the fire.

Someone asked if there was anyone else in the house, I said no but there were 6 dogs. Patou, who knows all the dogs and Jean-Marc helped me gather them up and we took them to the café. At that moment I could hear Raggy barking, Patou tried to get back in the house for her when flames exploded from the back door. It was too late.

 Thank you Raggy, I love you.

Ok, that was my American style of therapy, write it down, get it out. I did, it helps.

Now I am going to do the French style of therapy, pour an extremely good Cognac, slug it down and then get on with Life.

Kristi Anderson is the orignal owner of Tea & Tattered Pages and until February 6th ran a bed and breakfast near Orléans.
kristi anderson
le saint jacques le coin perdu
15, place de l'église
45240 Ligny le Ribault

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Burqa and the Marquis de Sade

Never may an act of possession be exercised upon a free being; the exclusive possession of a woman is no less unjust than the possession of slaves; all men are born free, all have equal rights: never should we lose sight of those principles; according to which never may there be granted to one sex the legitimate right to lay monopolizing hands upon the other, and never may one of the sexes, or classes, arbitrarily possess the other.

Marquis De Sade quotes

After reading Dedeene's post today about the burqa I started delving into the "art" of slavery. Came across this amazing quote which really sums it up in ONE sentence. (yes, read it again, it is one sentence)

What is more amazing is the man who said it. No matter, I am putting it on the frigo!

Kristi Anderson is the orignal owner of Tea & Tattered Pages and now runs a bed and breakfast near Orléans.
kristi anderson
le saint jacques le coin perdu
15, place de l'église
45240 Ligny le Ribault

Friday, February 5, 2010

Saint Valentine in a Coin Perdu

Samedi 13 février 2010

20h au Coin Perdu à Ligny le Ribault

Venez en Ange ou en Démon écouter les poésies angéliques et les contes diaboliques de Diane et Jean-claude tout en savourant un festin aphrodisiaque!

Menu 25 euros

Kir Valentin Oeuf poché “red & black”

Poulet au miel et gingembre Riz safrané

Saladade d’endives aux noix

Olivet poivré

Tarte au chocolat noir

1/4 vin
 Café ou Thé

Soirée organisée par Kristi Anderson et l’Association Caméléon

Kristi Anderson is the orignal owner of Tea & Tattered Pages and now runs a bed and breakfast in Sologne, Loire Valley, near Orléans.

le saint jacques le coin perdu
15, place de l’église
45240 Ligny le Ribault

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A pheasant in the pot....

After feeding the four footed zoo (they are easy, it is "croquettes" otherwise known in English as kibble) I am thinking what I should do about the two footed beasts in the house (Samantha Laurent and I) as we usually desire something more than kibble.

Sologne,just next to the Loire Valley is the hearting center of France. We have thousands of forested acres where the deer and, not buffalo, but "sanglier" (boar) roam as well as pheasants and partridges.

Here I am with one. Now that is about 130kg of BEAST!

Yesterday was the last day of the season, at least for the pheasants and a neighbor was nice enough to give me one.

A beauty he is.

Because hunting is so important here in Sologne, game cooking is one of the regional delights. In fact, I give a cooking course in it at my B&B

The name of the course? "Eat Like a Wild Man - The Art of Elegant Game Cooking"

The "Eat like a Wild Man" is also the title of a very good game cookbook by Rebecca Grey that I use quite often. I will be doing a variation of her Etruscan Pheasant

1 whole pheasant
1 lemon
l large red onion
4 tbsps butter (I use "escargot" butter, garlic and parsley mixed into the butter)
2 cups chopped veggies (I used carrots and onions)
1/2 cup wine (I replaced it with my smoked chicken stock
1 tbsp your choice of herbs (I used sage and thyme)

Soak a terra-cotta pot for 30 minutes. Rinse, pat dry, then rub the pheasant with lemon salt and pepper it. Put 2 tbsps butter along with a quartered onion into the cavity. Put the pheasant into the rinsed pot, add the veggies, herbs and the wine or stock. Cover pot and put it into a cold oven for 90 minutes at 450°F, 230°, 8 gas mark.

But to go with the pheasant...yes, of course, Brussels sprouts!

This is easy too, but it does take some time. I slice the carrots then grill them just a bit, with a little butter. When they start to brown I add the brussels sprouts, then about 1/2 smoked chicken stock. I let it reduce, stirring occassionally. I "braise" the vegtables by continuing to add a little of the stock at a time until tender. I add about 1/2 cooked bacon and crumble chestnuts just add the end of the cooking.

I served it with, what I think, is the best Cherveny wine, Domaine des Huards. It is a local Loire Valley wine,  just 20 minutes from our B&B.

The poor Loire Valley wines get lost among the Grand Crus from Bordeaux. Since living here I have happily tried most of them and find many very very good. The Domaine des Huards I serve at my "table d'hôtes" (dinner for my B&B guests) is one of the best. And, the better yet,  since they don't keep as well as a Bordeaux you can drink them sooner!

Kristi Anderson, the original owner of Tea & Tattered Paris, now runs Saint Jacques, le coin perdu. A B&B located just 1 1/2 south of Paris near Orléans.

                                           kristi anderson
le saint jacques le coin perdu
15, place de l'église
45240 Ligny le Ribault